Written by Megan Miao (Learning Experience Designer at NewCampus)
We are obsessed with how leadership mindsets and skillsets are evolving in hyper-growth companies in Asia. These are fast-growing companies employing a cross-cultural workforce that create disruptive technologies.
We believe that future leaders understand the power of culture as a constantly shifting force and that rapid regional expansion requires self-awareness and adaptability.
Developing cultural intelligence is not something that is done once and forgotten, but a deeply private change that unfolds human potential and possibilities in their immediate team, the entire organisation, and even the larger ecosystem.
But why is cultural intelligence so difficult to pin down?
Let’s first start with what we mean by Cultural Intelligence.
The first form of cognitive intelligence testing was developed in the early 1900s, and the term “emotional intelligence” was coined in 1990. In the years since, the world has grown even more interconnected and complex, requiring a new type of intelligence.
Cultural Intelligence is the ability to recognise and adapt to cultural differences in manners, meanings, processes, histories, and values.
Anyone who’s travelled to somewhere new would recognise the feeling of experiencing a new culture - new sights and sounds, smells, and language. But being able to describe the experience with exact detail to someone new is challenging.
Culture is an amorphous thing. It’s created in between seemingly inconsequential day-to-day actions, and large overarching principles.
When someone possesses a strong cultural intelligence, they are able to recognise these nuances, allowing them to relate and work effectively in culturally diverse teams and situations.
We found through conversations with industry experts across Southeast Asia that are three defining skills of leaders with cultural intelligence:
The myth is that cultural intelligence can only be gained through exposure and experience. But we believe that one doesn’t need to be a globe-trotter to have strong cultural intelligence.
Leveraging on our virtual cohort-based learning experiences, these are the key ways in which we infuse cultural intelligence into our curriculum.
If you want to put this insight into action, we suggest that you check out the NewCampus Manager Essentials Sprint, a 5-week online sprint aimed at helping you develop essential modern-day management skills alongside a group of diverse peers.